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Why does Jeremiah say, “The Lord of hosts is His name” (Jeremiah 51:19)?

Lord of hosts is His name

The Lord of hosts is one of the most repeated phrases in Jeremiah. Appearing seventy-one times throughout Jeremiah’s prophecy, it is evident that is God’s preferred term for referring to Himself. The first part of the name in Hebrew is Yahweh, which is a proper name for the Lord and most commonly identifies the Person of God who appears to people like Abraham, Hagar, Jacob, Gideon, etc. (Genesis 15:6–7; 16:13; 32:28; Judges 6:14). The second part of the name in Hebrew is Tsabaoth, which is most literally translated as “armies” or “hosts.” The name that Jeremiah repeats regularly is the Lord of Hosts or Yahweh of Armies.

In Jeremiah 50, for example, Jeremiah records, “Thus says the Lord of hosts” (Jeremiah 50:33, ESV). The Lord of hosts diagnoses the oppression of Israel and Judah at the hands of their captors and refers to Himself as their strong redeemer (Jeremiah 50:34a). The prophet adds that “the Lord of hosts is His name” (ESV). God will vigorously plead the case of Israel and Judah, bringing rest to the oppressed and turmoil to the Babylonian captors (Jeremiah 50:34b). Jeremiah notes that neither Israel nor Judah had been forsaken by the Lord of hosts (Jeremiah 51:5), reminding readers that the Lord of hosts is their God and the Holy One of Israel.

Jeremiah repeats, “The Lord of hosts is His name” (Jeremiah 51:19, ESV), and that He is the Maker of all. The Lord of hosts is the One who can shatter nations and destroy kingdoms (Jeremiah 51:20). The Lord of hosts has sworn by Himself (Jeremiah 51:14) that He will accomplish what He has said He would. Jeremiah continually refers to the Lord of hosts (Jeremiah 10:16; 31:35; 32:18; 50:34; 51:19) because God continually refers to Himself by that title. God wants Jeremiah’s readers to know that He is the Lord of armies—that He is sovereign and in control. The Lord of hosts is not blind to the oppression that Israel and Judah were facing or to the injustices being committed by their oppressors.

God was allowing Israel and Judah to encounter severe consequences because of His holiness and justice. He had made a covenant with Israel and Judah that, if they would obey His law, they would be allowed to live in the land and be blessed. But if the people disobeyed His law, He would judge them and remove them from the land, and they would go into exile. Still, in God’s mercy and grace, He promised to restore them after the judgment. They had violated the covenant God made with Israel through Moses (Exodus 19)—the Old Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31), but God would one day make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. They could trust in Him and in His promise because He was the Lord of hosts. He was the One who commanded armies. He is sovereign over all.

Jeremiah repeated the fact that the Lord of hosts is His name more than seventy times in his prophecy, because this One was sovereign and powerful and trustworthy. Our God is still the Lord of hosts. Even in times of greatest difficulty, we can have confidence that God is still in control. He still commands armies. When He promises us that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), we can trust Him. The God of armies—the Lord of hosts—is greater than our difficulties and trials.

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Why does Jeremiah say, “The Lord of hosts is His name” (Jeremiah 51:19)?
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This page last updated: May 31, 2023